First run in 1833, the historic Northumberland Plate takes place at Newcastle this afternoon at 3.30 with a maximum field of 20.

Favourite at 5-1 is Trueshan, a dual Group 1 winner which never seems to get its ground on turf and was withdrawn from the Ascot Gold Cup last Thursday.

Alan King‘s 6-y-o was diverted here last year under similar circumstances, but could only finish 6th off a mark of 118. Having to run off 120 today doesn’t help and there look to be better bets further down the handicap.

Andrew Balding looks to have a very strong hand with two progressive 4-y-os in Spirit Mixerand Valley Forge and, in the hope of a stable 1-2 we recommend each way bets on both at 12-1 and 13-2 respectively.

We can’t leave this race without also suggested an each way play on last year’s third Island Brave, which had a decent prep for this at Ascot and is weighted to go close. 14-1 are the odds of reward.

Coverage starts with the Pertemps Network Handicap at 1.50 and the two that catch our eye in this are Strike Red and Raatea.

Strike Red has had no luck in running the last twice and is two from three over CD while Raatea ran its best race here a year ago and is off a winnable mark. We suggest a win bet on Strike Red at 4-1 and an each way on Raatea at 6-1.

On to the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes at 2.25 in which the 3-y-o Sense Of Duty is at the head of the market at 2-1. 

Willie‘s runner is fast improving and its Listed win last time could not have worked out any better, with the placed horses excelling themselves next time out. Should be well up to Group 3 and should be backed at the price.

In case of accidents, we also recommend a ‘cover’ bet on previous Group 1 winner Glen Shiel, which has the assistance of the fragrant Hollie and is 9-2.

The Northumberland Vase at 2.55 is a consolation race for the horses who couldn’t get in the Plate and has a field of 18.

Our three darts are Geremia (13-2), Wise Eagle (14-1) and Monsieur Lambrays (12-1) and may the Gods smile on us.

Cameras are also at Newmarket for three races, starting with the Empress Fillies’ Stakes at 2.05 and anyone seeing Minnetonka win on debut at Salisbury will not want to oppose it – so we won’t.

Although the form has yet to be tested, this was a visually stunning performance and the 7-4 available could turn out to be a gift – take it.

The Fred Archer Stakes at 2.40 has just five runners, but four appear to have a good chance, so this is a swerve. 

We’ll have a crack at the Criterion Stakes at 3.15 though and select Sunray Major to make up for one of the many unfortunate recent rides of Signor Dettori. 

Today we get James Doyle and cheekpieces, both of which should help to get this 5-y-o home at 2-1. 

Must go – the cricket’s starting.


Strike Red 1.50 Newcastle 2pts win @ 4-1

Raatea 1.50 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (4 places)

Sense Of Duty 2.25 Newcastle 3pts win @ 2-1

Glen Shiel 2.25 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 9-2 (4 places)

Geremia 2.55 Newcastle 1.5pts e/w @ 13-2 (5 places)

Wise Eagle 2.55 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (5 places)

Monsieur Lambrays 2.55 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (5 places)

Spirit Mixer 3.30 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (6 places)

Valley Forge 3.30 Newcastle 1.5pts e/w @ 13-2 (6 places)

Island Brave 3.30 Newcastle 1pt e/w @ 14-1 (6 places)

Minnetonka 2.05 Newmarket 4pts win @ 7-4

Sunray Major 3.15 Newmarket 3pts win @ 2-1

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